Cancer support volunteer honoured with Queen’s award

THE IMPACT of Fermanagh cancer group SWELL (Supported We Live Life) has been recognised as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, with founder Genevieve Irvine honoured with a Platinum Champion Award.
Mrs Irvine was one of just 14 people from the North to be selected for one of the awards, and the only one from Fermanagh, which recognised her outstanding voluntary activity in the local area.
Organised in partnership with the Big Jubilee Lunch, the awards honoured those how made an outstanding contribution to helping others in their communities.
Speaking to the Herald, Mrs Irvine said she was “overwhelmed” and surprised by the award.
“I’m just really pleased, pleased for the charity that we have been recognised,” she said.
Mrs Irvine said the award was “humbling” and stressed it recognised the work of the entire SWELL team, which supports local people who have had or are newly diagnosed with cancer.
SWELL was set up by Mrs Irvine in 2018, after she was diagnosed with cancer herself and recognised a need for a dedicated support service here in Fermanagh after finding nothing similar in the local area.
In September last SWELL opened an office at 26 Cross Street, right in the heart of Enniskillen.
“It’s going really well with the general public, the Fermanagh community, supporting us with fundraising,” she said, adding SWELL was continuing to expand its services and activities.
“We do everything in house here, so we’re not signposting people to different places,” Mrs Irvine continued. “It’s a Fermanagh based charity, for Fermanagh people.”
Mrs Irvine said the service had a great volunteer team, but as it continued to grow it was always in need of more volunteers, to cover a range of roles such as reception, housekeeping, answering queries and so on.
Now an award-winning volunteer herself, Mrs Irvine said seeing the impact the service was having on changing local people’s lives was very rewarding and made all the hard work worth it.
“That’s the power of volunteering. You can actually make a difference, you can actually change somebody’s life,” she said.
“I did it out of need and now it has to keep going because of the positive change I can make.”
Volunteers are both former service users, as well as members of the general public, such as brave local woman Louise Brady, who will making a huge leap for the charity this weekend.
Ms Brady is doing a bungee jump this Sunday in aid of SWELL and has already raised over £5,000 on her crowdfunding page. To support her fundraiser visit and search for ‘SWELL.’
Another local woman, Denise Kavanagh who is a member of Enniskillen Running Club, will also be fundraising next month, with a run on July 3rd. Further details on how to donate can be found on the SWELL Facebook page.

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